My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Out of My Mind is a well-told story from the voice of Melody, an eleven year old girl with cerebral palsy, who cannot walk or talk, and at first has almost no means to communicate with those around her. Sharon Draper does a wonderful job of presenting a character, who could potentially inspire pity, as a strong and admirable, and ‘normal’ preteen girl, whose own determination to express herself eventually succeeds. Drama without pathos, humour without low comedy, and introspection without maudlinism move this story along at a steady and engaging pace.
Written in a natural, conversational style at about a mid-grade-four level, I will recommend this book to students of all ages. It will also make a great classroom read-aloud. Students will learn to see disabled people differently, teaching empathy. Supplemented by background media on Stephen Hawking (Melody’s inspiration) and technologies for the disabled, this novel could be related to health, science, language arts (‘words’ are at the heart of the story), and social studies.